Sterling vase with split seam, broken from base, crushed bell.
Metalsmith Rita Robben, removes the fill (pitch) from the base, gradually works the silver out and open to the shape of the bell and the shape of the vase. It requires several annealing’s.
When the metal lines up as well as it will, a sleeve is placed to join the split. The bell shows several splits from the crush as well so it to is soldered, and the vase is also soldered to the base. The base is filled and closed and polished.
Sterling can be hollow or filled. Filled hollowware is closed on each side with a cap or plug.
The inside can be filled with a variety of materials however most of the time it is filled with a substance called “Pitch”. Pitch is usually a mix of tree sap and sand. To restore a filled silver hollowware piece, the cap is carefully removed and the fill evacuated. The piece is then restored, dents removed, breaks soldered and even sections fabricated and installed where the damage is too severe. The piece is then refilled with new pitch fill and carefully closed.
Before and after of a sterling 3 light candelabra arm broken at the body.
It is a common restoration request, an arm broken away from the body. Sometimes the damage is due to aggressive handling and sometimes it is just a weak area. I remove the fill, reinforce the arm for a stronger hold, solder and then back fill to give a good solid structure to the 3 light arm.
Before and after of a sterling handles letter opener with the handle torn apart.
This letter opener was a treasured family heirloom. It was used everyday and the customer wanted to continue the use regardless of the restoration outcome.
I was dealing with very thin metal and badly torn silver. I started with removing the pitch fill. I straightened and aligned the silver. I built a sleeve to line the interior for strength. I carefully soldered the torn silver then detailed the design. I mixed a pitch fill with the highest strength factor and re-pitched the blade.
Before and after of fire damaged sterling silver candle sticks.
There are very few items that cannot be restored. This is a pair of sterling 5” candle sticks that were in a fire. The fill left inside is removed, the debris from the fire removed. Then the dent removal, straightening and solder, refilling and finishing with a machine polishing.
Filled Hollowware Restoration
- Dent removal of dented, twisted, bent filled pieces.
- Soldering of broken, split and cracked pieces
- Fabrication of missing or severely damaged
- Re-pitch/ resetting of items where the fill has become exposed
- Reinforce, straighten, leveling of hollowware pieces
- Cleaning, polishing, lacquer removal and tarnish prevention
What our customers says
Gary / Illinois
Rita – wanted – again – to say how happy I am with the professionalism and quality of the repair you made to my favorite clock! Can’t tell it was ever damaged. Everyone should be as good at what they do as you are. Thanks again.
Shane / WI
Ms. Robben, Thank You Thank You Thank You. The weekend was a wonderful event, and I thank you for all you did to make it happen. You are not just my Silversmith but now my friend. GREAT JOB!
Joan / Ky
WOW! Thats all the words that come to mind. I never expected perfection. How did you do it? Thanks so much.
Sylvia / CA
Ms. Robben, You will never know the love you have restored with the restoration of our families candelabra. They were mothers pride and joy. I thought of having them at her service but was told they not only couldn’t be restored in time but may not be able to be restored at all! I was so touched when I got the email that they were on the way back. I will be honest, I thought they would not look too good. They were amazing, in time for moms service and I could just tell came back with Love. Thank you!
Tom / Mi
Rita, You are an amazing artist. I can’t even see where the damage was.
Dave / NM
What skill, I don’t think this tea set has ever looked this good. It must be fun being you!
John / OH
Rita, you did it again. I thought I did the unrepairable this time, but you and your amazing hands erased my mistake again.
Mae / WV
Ms Robben, I had no Idea you could cast a whole new foot. I was in hopes there was a way to just have a stick or something that made it sit upright again. The restoration you sent back is nothing short of perfection. Thank you for your talented work.
Ruth / NC
Rita if this is what you call 95% good you have a very high standard of perfection. My vase looks perfect.
Peter / OH
You will forever be referred to as MY silversmith. Your talents are endless, and I thank you again.
Rita, Thank you for all your help and knowledge. You are so willing to share and help. I have told my whole family about you and my three sisters have sent the following items to be restored. Can’t wait to see them completed.